Argentina is a South American country that has seen its share of mighty revivals. Both in 1949 and in 1954, God saw fit to pour out revival fire in different areas of this nation. And in both cases, God demonstrated His goodness and His power to heal and to save the lost. Yet, as some local pastors have observed, the churches in Argentina were not sufficiently prepared when the revivals arrived. Even as many salvations brought people into the Kingdom, the local congregations were not able to lead all the new believers into meaningful discipleship. Within a few years after the 1954 revival ended, many churches slid back into a state of lukewarmness and simply maintaining the status quo.
As the influence of the Church in Argentina grew weaker in the subsequent years, the culture started to revert back to its historical fascination with witchcraft and the occult. The practice of voodoo became popular and commonplace during the 1960’s and 1970’s. President Peron, who had been used by God to assist in the 1954 revival, forgot what God had done for him and allowed witchcraft to infiltrate all levels of society and government. He even condoned the promotion of a well-known occult leader Jose Lopez Rega to the office of social welfare minister of Argentina. Jose, whose nickname was El Brujo (the Warlock), used his influence to build a public monument to honor witchcraft, and it is said that when he was finally ousted from power in 1976, he made sure he left his mark by pronouncing a lasting curse upon the nation.
As the 1980’s rolled around, Argentina was known as one of the places with the slowest church growth in the world. It has also earned the unenviable reputation as one of the hardest fields in which to preach the Gospel. The additional factors of a disillusioning war and severe economic downturn drove the country into a morbid dark period of its history.
During this time, some small faithful churches continued to press in for God to impact their nation again. One pastor, Alberto Scataglini, led his church in the city of La Plata to pray and seek the Lord. He especially challenged the young people to pursue hard after God and to make a commitment to be willing to pay the price for a fresh touch of God. Initially, only 6 youth responded, yet they were faithful in their prayers. This spurred a wave of repentance and confession of sin to one another. The group grew to over 500, and they prayed and prepared all throughout 1983. They anticipated what God would soon do.
The Lord had been raising up a man named Carlos Annacondia to stir up revival fire. The Lord had radically captured the heart of this experienced Argentinian businessman in 1979. Two years later, God gave him a vision with these words: “Soon. Soon. Soon. There will be a great revival in Argentina. Argentina will be Mine.” In 1984, he stepped out in faith to organize and lead large evangelistic gatherings around the nation. One of the early stops was in the city of La Plata. Annacondia began working with the 7 main churches of the city. It is there he became acquainted with Pastor Scataglini, who initially was a bit reluctant and skeptical of Annacondia’s approach and lack of theological training. The idea of setting up a tent in an open field with just a few weeks to prepare caused a bit of concern to the established leaders. Yet, God Himself spoke words of reassurance to the pastors, and they all stood united with Annacondia as the campaign began.
On that first night, thousands of people turned up for the event. Over the next several hours, the Gospel was preached intensely. God worked deliverance, miracles, and healings among the people. And an invitation was given to trust in Christ. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the average attender, under the preaching platform, hundreds and hundreds of intercessors labored in prayer, starting at 7PM and lasting until well after midnight. That evening, amazingly, the crowd encountered the clear moving of the Holy Spirit and resulted in more than 140 persons surrendering their hearts to follow after Jesus as their Savior. That evening sparked a powerful spiritual awakening that would sweep from city to city across the nation, and later even spark revival fires in distant countries worldwide. This was the night the Lord answered His people’s prayers and finally opened the floodgates to a powerful revival, a revival that continues to this day…
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